While the Biden administration has sent millions of vaccine doses and hurricane relief to Central America, Harris noted that providing such short-term relief is “not enough to alleviate suffering in the long term.”
Instead, the vice president’s strategy promises more sustained efforts to address motivations for migration, including refocusing engagement with Central America.
“In Central America, the root causes of migration run deep — and migration from the region has a direct impact on the United States,” Harris wrote in a cover letter discussing the plan. “For that reason, our nation must consistently engage with the region to address the hardships that cause people to leave Central America and come to our border.”
Earlier this year, President Joe Biden tapped Harris to lead the administration’s diplomatic efforts to address the causes of migration from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, and she visited the U.S.-Mexico border in June as a part of those efforts.
The strategy is the vice president’s most recent step to address these root causes, and is a core component of the Biden administration’s broader plan released Tuesday to establish a “fair, orderly and humane immigration system.”
The plan is broken down into five pillars but it does not provide a detailed timeline or policy actions to be taken. The pillars include addressing economic insecurity and inequality, combating democratic corruption and promoting respect for human rights.
The plan also addresses gang violence and crimes, and combating sexual and gender-based violence.
Harris noted that the United Nations and the governments of Mexico, Japan and South Korea have committed to joining the effort to address the motivations of migration from Central America.
“The United States cannot do this work alone,” Harris wrote in the cover letter. “Our Strategy is far-reaching—and focuses on our partnerships with other governments, international institutions, businesses, foundations, and civil society.”
On Tuesday, the White House also released a “Collaborative Migration Management Strategy,” which President Joe Biden ordered in February. It outlines how the U.S. will work with other countries to “manage safe, orderly and humane migration” in North and Central America.
Efforts include expanding job opportunities and protections in countries where migrants leave, ensuring that border management is secure and humane and creating more legal pathways to come to the U.S.